11 Months after the elections in Iran: Hundreds of opposition members still in detention

2010/05/11

Published in Austrian daily “Der Standard” on 11 May 2010
Source (German): http://derstandard.at/1271376438657/Elf-Monate-nach-der-Iran-Wahl-Weiter-hunderte-Oppositionelle-in-Haft
English translation provided by @germantoenglish

Anti government protest in Tehran, 27 December 2009

Only one more month to go until the first anniversary of the disputed presidential elections that has left no stone unturned in Iran’s domestic politics. On 15th of June 2009, three days after the elections, the mass protests against the outcome of the elections broke out, followed by repression, arrests, and new protests.

Meanwhile, the anti government protests have abated due to the government’s brutal crackdown, but resistance is still evident throughout all social strata. Moreover, hundreds of opposition supporters, journalists, students, and other dissidents are still imprisoned without court sentences. By carrying out five death sentences , issued back in 2008 against Kurdish citizens charged with antirevolutionary activities, the regime sends a strong message, signaling that they are ready to use utmost violence.

Media under pressure
The media have been muzzled, the staff of editorial offices consists of people close to the Revolutionary Guards. The smallest hint can lead to the closure of a newspaper, something that only recently happened to the publication “Bahar” – it was forced to close after quoting former president Mohammad Khatami.

The circle of confidants of the regime, however, is shrinking. Many figures who only a few years ago were considered to be absolutely trustworthy have now been excluded from the center of power. One of them is former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Several proceedings have been initiated against his children; his son Mehdi faces arrest on returning to Iran from Europe, where he is currently residing.

Female student quota defeated
However, the rulers are nervous as well. And the measures they take only add to the rage of the Iranians. The idea of introducing a quota for female students – in order to defend male students from the successful women who flock into the universities and outperform their male fellow students – has flopped. Female students refuse to observe gender segregation in the lecture halls. Conservative pro-government ayatollahs now suggested to establish a ministry of moral surveillance.

Mysterious art theft
Also, a cultural revolution is underway: Several weeks ago, monuments on public squares in Tehran started to vanish over night – monuments of renowned Iranian intellectuals, poets, and artists. Nobody really knows who is behind this art theft. The institutions blame each other for not paying sufficient attention. Unknown perpetrators dismantle the monuments at night and remove them, even though some of them weigh more than a ton, and surveillance cameras sometimes capture the incidents.

The public is certain that radical government supporters are behind this cultural attack – backed by the security forces.
(M.M. from Tehran/derStandard.at, 11.5.2010)

Event
Vigil outside the Parliament on occasion of the executions in Iran
Wednesday, 12 May 6-8 p.m.

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